Letter from Pastor Vladimir
after 100 days of war
Hello, dear friends,
We are very grateful for your concerns and prayer support to our church and Ukraine as a whole. After 100+ days of war, we look back and can say confidently that God’s hand has been leading us. Different people experienced different things over this time. Some had to live through the things that nobody would know without living through the war. Our Margarita from church was in Bucha during the most horrible time there. She was hiding in the basement of her house. Miraculously, she managed to leave the city along with her dog. She had a long way to Europe. The only things she brought we her were her documents. She now lives in Germany, fully safe, and remembers those days as her worst dream.
We managed to move my elder daughter Ksenia from Irpin just in time. Praise God, our grandchildren do not know what sirens and explosions are. We keep thanking God for this mercy. Another miracle is that God has preserved their house intact whereas all the neighboring houses have been demolished. Their only damage was two broken windows. Ksenia’s husband went to check on their house recently and said that everything is as they had left it. The house has not been looted. It is truly God’s mercy.
No member of our church has suffered physically and no one has their home destroyed. It means that all of us will have homes to return to, although it is too early to think of that. More bombs fell on Kyiv this week: one on a residential area, another on a railroad section. Praise God, nobody was killed.
When the war lasts long, people get the “tiredness” moment. The world feels compassion to us and sends their help, but the world cannot live with Ukraine’s problems for too long. Our refugees are starting to feel that they have been “unexpected guests” in other countries for too long. Many have financial difficulties because not all countries pay them refugee benefits and it is too hard to find jobs.
In Poland, where we are now, we are not paying for our housing, which is a huge relief, but we live far away from any civilization, so we heavily rely on our van. Meanwhile, fuel prices are rising rapidly. In order to keep in touch with the rest of the church, we use internet, but the village we are in does not have WiFi, so we use our cellular internet, which is quite expensive. We have only received one benefit payment from the government, 300 PLN. So, we are living from our Ukrainian pensions and savings. We are glad that we are able to use our Ukrainian bank cards, although we lose a lot in currency conversions. In comparison, in Belgium, where some of our people from church have settled, they get weekly benefits and free products from certain stores. Poland is unable to provide such things because it has embraced the largest number of Ukrainian refugees.
Some of our people have already returned to Kyiv but they are now facing the problem of big price raises and lack of jobs.
But we don’t want to only think of problems. We believe that the war is coming to an end soon and that Ukraine will be restored. Without this faith, it would have been doubly hard to live now.
Our elder daughter and grandchildren are with us, and it is wonderful. The kids go to school and have online classes with various teachers. Our daughter does not want them to lose a year. Unfortunately, our younger daughter is in Moscow, and this is a huge tragedy for all of us. We have no idea when we will ever be able to see them again. Her husband has a Russian passport, and he will never be able to come into Ukraine again, while we will never want/be able to go to Moscow. They do not want to live in Russia, but the tragedy is that they can’t go anywhere as refugees (only our daughter has Ukrainian citizenship), and they don’t know where to go. Their savings will not last for long abroad, so they will need to find a job. They would really like to move to the States (both speak fluent English), but this process takes very long, and by the time they might be able to do so, their country might cancel all flights abroad. Their situation is so hopeless that we can only pray and hope for God’s miracle.
We are actively participating in the ministry of the local UMC on Sundays. We have had several groups from abroad come visit us, and we received them with cakes, fellowship and songs. First, it was a group from Oxford, UK, then from Florida. The largest group of 13 people came to us from Kansas Cityз, headed by Adam Hamelton. We live in a beautiful place, and everyone really likes coming here. They interviewed us to tell their churches about Ukraine.
This Sunday, we are celebrating two holidays: Trinity Day and the birthday of our church! We are sad that we cannot celebrate it all together, but we are planning to celebrate it online, from different countries, letting each church member feel an important and loved part of our church.
May the Lord bless you and keep all of you, your families, houses, and church safe!
We are always praying for you!